not mobile

Student Affairs

How HOPE Changes Will Affect USG Students

Print friendly Modified April 12, 2011

History and Overview

In November of 1992, Georgia voters passed an amendment to Georgia’s Constitution to create the Georgia Lottery. Former Governor Zell Miller established three distinct and individually funded lottery programs: the HOPE Scholarship Program, the Georgia Pre-K program (a voluntary prekindergarten program for four-year olds) and an instructional technology program for those pursuing work ready skills in our technical colleges, the HOPE Grant. As Lottery revenues grew, the programs were expanded.

Since its creation, the HOPE Scholarship has provided benefits totaling more than five billion dollars to over 1.2 million students pursuing post-secondary education. Georgia Pre-K has served over one million children.

However, over time as enrollment and tuition have increased and as more and more four-year olds have been served by Georgia’s Pre-K program, the lottery was beginning to pay out more than it was bringing in. If this pattern had been allowed to continue the program fund would have run out of money by 2013. The recent legislative changes were necessary to preserve these invaluable education programs for future generations.

Georgia Pre-K will continue to receive 1/3 of lottery funds deposited into the Lottery for Education Account; higher education programs, including HOPE Scholarship, Zell Miller Scholarship, HOPE Grant, HOPE GED and the need-based aid loan program will continue to receive 2/3.

Here is a summary of the key changes to the HOPE Scholarship program affecting currently enrolled students and students seeking admission to an University System of Georgia college or university. This summary does not include changes affecting students attending either a public technical college or a private college or university.

Beginning Fall 2011

Regular HOPE

  • Students must have a 3.0 GPA graduating from an eligible high school.
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in college to keep HOPE.
  • For the academic year starting Fall 2011, the HOPE amount is capped at 90 percent of the current tuition rate (2010-2011) at USG institutions.

Zell Miller Scholarship

  • Student must have a 3.7 GPA graduating from an eligible high school.
  • Students must, in addition to the 3.7 GPA, have a combined 1200 on the critical reading and math sections of the SAT or at least a 26 Composite ACT score. These test scores must come from a single test sitting.
  • Students must maintain a 3.3 GPA in college to keep the Zell Miller scholarship.
  • A valedictorian and salutatorian from each high school will be eligible to receive the Zell Miller Scholarship without consideration of the GPA or ACT/SAT requirements.
  • Zell Miller Scholarship will cover tuition at 100% for an academic year.
  • Students who drop below the college 3.3 GPA can earn Regular HOPE if their GPA remains at 3.0 or above.

For Both Regular HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarship

  • Book and fee allowances have been eliminated.
  • Remedial classes are not covered by the HOPE scholarship.
  • Eligible students can continue to receive HOPE scholarship until they have attempted a maximum of 127 semester hours.
  • Students who lose Regular HOPE or the Zell Miller scholarship at an established checkpoint will have a single chance to regain HOPE or the Zell Miller scholarship.
  • Beginning with high school graduating class of 2015, students will be required to demonstrate that they have taken a certain number of rigorous high school courses in math, science, and foreign language.
  • Courses earned through dual-enrollment will count toward the rigor requirements being phased in for 2015.

Other Key Points

Need Based Loan – Eligible students can seek a 1% loan to cover any of the costs associated with attending college. These student loans can also be forgiven altogether if loan recipients become certified and teach in a public K-12 school in the STEM field. Each year of service in the classroom will forgive one year of the student loan.

Current HOPE students are not “grandfathered in” – they will see the reduction in the HOPE award beginning this fall, 2011.

Visit the Georgia Student Finance Commission website at GAcollege411 for more details regarding changes to the HOPE Scholarship program.